Nikkei stays near multi-year highs due to optimism over U.S. demand
* Japanese indexes shrug off lack of ECB easing details * Market focus on US jobs data * Weak yen keeps exporter stocks steady By Thomas Wilson TOKYO, Dec 5(Reuters) - Japanese stocks remained near 7-1/2 year highs on Friday as optimism on the U.S. economy helped investors shrug off a delay to hoped-for eurozone easing. The Nikkei benchmark slipped 0.3 percent to 17,832.32 by 0137 GMT, after hitting its highest since July 2007 on Thursday. The broader Topix lost 0.2 percent to 1,438.50, also near a 6-year peak. Market participants pointed to economic resilience in the United States - a crucial market for Japanese exporters - as soothing concerns arising from the eurozone's moribund growth prospects. U.S. jobs data for November, due after the market close, is expected to show that employers added 230,000 new jobs last month, according to a Reuters poll. "If the data's strong, stocks will get another boost," said Tetsuro Ii, president of Commons Asset Management in Tokyo. Prospects of buyoyant demand in the world's biggest economy propped up Japanese exporters shares, which were also boosted by a weaker yen. The yen hovered around 119.83 against the dollar after weakening beyond the 120 mark for the first time in seven years on Thursday. Honda Motor Co added 0.3 percent and Nissan Motor Co gained 0.7 percent, while Panasonic Corp edged up 0.3 percent. On Thursday, the European Central Bank said it would consider action early next year to revive the eurozone's flagging economy, despite German opposition to quantitative easing. ECB President Mario Draghi failed to give further details of the stimulus plan, but reaffirmed the ECB's commitment to helping the eurozone's economy, which is forecast to post weaker-than-expected output and low inflation in the coming years. [ID: nL6N0TO1JJ] The gloomy prospects for the eurozone have influenced Japanese investor portfolio weightings. "No-one feels that business there will grow, so they're keeping Europe-related shares underweight," said Ii. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 ticked down 0.2 percent to 13,046.93. (Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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